WILLIAMSBURG — The Williamsburg Regional Library (WRL) has recorded a high demand for take-home COVID-19 testing kits.
The library is a part of the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) program, which partners with library systems throughout the Commonwealth to provide free, take-home Abbott BinaxNow COVID-19 Antigen Card Home COVID-19 Test kits. WRL was one of the original 18 “pilot libraries” to participate in the program. The library reports giving out 5,600 of these testing kits to the public since it started participating in the program last month.
In its most recent order, WRL received 2,000 testing kits from the VDH. The kits arrived on Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at around 12 p.m., and, by 5 p.m., they were all gone.
“Every time we order them I can’t keep them in the building for longer than 24 hours. This is the largest order that we’ve placed with the VDH though. They are in very very high demand,” said Circulation Services Director of WRL Alicia Phinney. “I think we posted [on Facebook] around 3 [p.m.] and we did still have kits at that time, but by 5 p.m., we were out at both [library] locations. We had lines out the door. It was just a little crazy yesterday.”
WRL has already ordered a new shipment of the COVID-19 testing kits, but it is unable to state an exact date on when the kits will arrive due to the growing demand for testing kits around the state.
“We’re not really sure when they’re [the kits] coming in, though. When we first started ordering them, they came the next day but I think we’re kind of having supply line issues because the last order took a week,” said Phinney. “So we really aren’t sure when to expect the order, but we’re trying to keep that website banner up to date. So, as soon as they come in and they’re ready to hand out, then we update that banner.”
Phinney says that the kits offered by WRL are on a first come, first serve basis. The library does offer curbside pickup, but locals have to pick the testing kits up that same day.
“We’re just trying to be as fair as possible with our process. You can come in-person and pick them up, or call and we can put them on our curbside cart if they [library patrons] are experiencing symptoms and don’t want to come into the building, but they have to come and pick them up the same day or they [the testing kits] kind of go back into our stock if they are not picked up,” Phinney said.
The VDH program is called Support Testing Access through Community Collaboration (STACC). The program started with 18 Virginia libraries back in November but has since expanded to 38 libraries. For a complete list of participating libraries, residents can head over to the VDH website.
Locals interested in picking up a testing kit at WRL are asked to visit WRL’s website that features a banner at the top of the website that lets the public know when they have testing kits available. Locals can call WRL for additional information about the COVID-19 testing kits. Also, they can follow WRL’s Facebook page.